Jump to content
Mandolin Picker

CbB for Audio Book?

Recommended Posts

Curious if anyone is using CbB for recording audio book narration? If you are, any insight into setup, etc. that you found was different from recording music.

Thanks

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read in a book for my daughter.

The behavior is a little different than audio recording. It's like having 1 and only 1 instrument.

You are reading and may discover annunciations or inflections that work best as you read. So you double back and read the same part again better.

I hit M to mark every case where I want to remove a false-start.

When I remove the false starts, it moves the audio to the right. So when I clean it, I work from the end to the beginning, fixing each case and deleting the marker.

To do it efficiently, you don't want to have to re-wind and restart every time you want to re-do a section. Hitting M at each case ensures you will revisit them all.

The same thing basically works for pod-casts where you are free talking... you want to talk casually and not in a rehearsed way, but this creates a lot of content you don't want to post. You have to have efficient methods for pruning the cr*p.

Edited by Gswitz
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice tips here, @Gswitz and thanks for raising the question, @Mandolin Picker. On my overly long list of potential projects are several specific and general music + VO narration projects.  Even though the topic asks about audio books specifically, it seems these (and maybe forthcoming tips, including tips/suggestions from others) would apply to many forms of "spoken word" projects. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For this sort of recording I much prefer a Wave Editor like Wave Lab. There are also many free editors that can do the job but my workflow with stereo recordings is definitely way faster and more precise  using Wave Lab. And yes you can add markers on the fly. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My friend Jim is a pro VO artist and teacher and makes good use of iZotope RX in his work.

I scored a license for RX Elements at deep discount and believe that it would be an excellent tool for spoken word recording, either using the individual plug-ins within Cakewalk or the standalone editor itself.

As far as differences in setup and all that, when I was doing narration for a friend's technical book, I found that it was in some ways more difficult than singing, because I wanted to maintain a consistent speaking "voice" throughout the project. A song vocal take is minutes at longest, but a book reading is much longer, even if it's just phrases.

Different discipline. Plosives, lip clicks, stuff like that come through way more obviously because there's not this whole rock (or whatever) band covering them up. It's "naked," like having your vocal solo'd all the time with minimal FX.

These are some things that worked for me: Use your pop screen and any old LDC, and get close to the mic for an intimate sound. This will sound good on earbuds. Maintain a consistent distance (having the tone drift doesn't sound good). Sit in a comfortable chair with the text you are reading displayed at an angle that allows you to read it while holding your neck and throat at a good angle for the voice work. Have a bottle of water close at hand!

Be prepared to at first detest the sound of your speaking voice, then fall in love with it. 🤩

As others have alluded to, trying to do it all entirely in Cakewalk would, IMO, be possible but needlessly difficult. I would do it in a hybrid way:

  1.  Track in Cakewalk making use of the multiple tracks, sound effects (fun in a book project!), punch-ins, etc. available in a DAW
  2.  Comp in Cakewalk using CbB's fabbo Take Lanes, Speed Comping, etc.
  3. Export the result in lossless format of your choice, WAV or FLAC
  4. Open the file in an audio editor such as Audacity, Wavosaur, iZotope RX, Sound Forge Audio Studio, any number of free or reasonably-priced and excellent audio editors. My favorite happens to be Sound Forge AS, which you can get for about $25 for v. 12 on Amazon.
  5. Edit out your breath intakes, long pauses, lip clicks, page turns, mobile phone notifications, whatever
  6. Import the result back to Cakewalk for final mastering/sweetening or if it supports VST's you can stay in your audio editor
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:
  1. Open the file in an audio editor such as Audacity, Wavosaur, iZotope RX, Sound Forge Audio Studio, any number of free or reasonably-priced and excellent audio editors. My favorite happens to be Sound Forge AS, which you can get for about $25 for v. 12 on Amazon.
  2. Edit out your breath intakes, long pauses, lip clicks, page turns, mobile phone notifications, whatever

Question - what is it about these wave editors that makes it easier/quicker to edit the spoken voice files?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep a squeaky toy in my hand to 'mark' false starts, pronunciation, and inflection problems.   In that way, I can simply stay in the zone of reading, without doing anything with the keyboard.   

When reviewing/editing, the squeaks are obvious visual markers, and are easy to spot/correct and splice the good stuff into a glorious contiguous reading performance. 

  • Great Idea 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MediaGary said:

I keep a squeaky toy in my hand to 'mark' false starts, pronunciation, and inflection problems.   In that way, I can simply stay in the zone of reading, without doing anything with the keyboard.   

When reviewing/editing, the squeaks are obvious visual markers, and are easy to spot/correct and splice the good stuff into a glorious contiguous reading performance. 

I would never  thought of that.  Now I have to steal one of the dogs toys 😂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Mandolin Picker said:

Question - what is it about these wave editors that makes it easier/quicker to edit the spoken voice files?

They have better and faster zoom and crop and waveform manipulation tools for zeroing right in on those spaces and bumps and cutting or smoothing them out. It's what they're built for, just as Cakewalk is built for multitrack recording, composition, and editing of music.

Their waveform displays are usually more detailed so you can spot problems visually without the need to keep listening over and over.

Sound Forge Pro can do multiple tracks, and some use it for songs, but I don't think I'd like it.

It's hard to describe until you pull up one of your spoken word files and work in each of them to see what their strengths are.

Cakewalk will shine on moving around large sections, working with effects, the initial recording, the "big picture." The wave editor will shine at working on cleaning up the little noises and tightening up the gaps. You'll develop a rhythm of "spot a glitch in the waveform, zoom in, select it, audition it, correct it, on to the next one."

This can be done in Cakewalk as well. There are plug-ins like RX that are really good at automated cleaning up of mouth noises.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/21/2019 at 7:09 AM, Mandolin Picker said:

Question - what is it about these wave editors that makes it easier/quicker to edit the spoken voice files?

As the man said above. A Wave editor was designed from the ground up just to edit a stereo wave file so it is optimized for working with that sort of material. And once you learn your way around which ever version you choose you could never use something like a DAW to edit a stereo file..  DAW's are for multi track and a Wave editor is for your 2 track. 

As said you can see and zoom in on unwanted material and delete it all with out letting go of the mouse. 

A method of working with audio books or spoken word is to have the narrator stop cold if they make an error, wait a few seconds and start over. The pause in the dialog is very visible when editing.  You then listen to the pick up words and quickly scroll back find them and delete. All can be done in seconds especially if you have a script.   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Wave Lab Elements which I paid $100 Can for years ago. I've used Wave Lab since 2001 so I'm super fast with it. Downside is the E Licence dongle or software. I bought the dongle so I could run it on both my workstation. 

I have a few other Wave editors which are all very good but Wave Lab is the only one I use that has one important ( to me) feature. When you open a tool, it stays open and available until closed. Most editors including Cakewalk make you re-open a tool each time you use it. Example Gain or Normalize. So if I'm running through a file killing Plosives I can open the EQ set it up to cut the low end, and then all I do is process the tiny parts that needed as I run through the file with 2 mouse moves. Highlight/ process Super fast. 

The best free editor I've played with is Acoustica by Acon Digital. You have to dig on the website but there is a freebie of the older Version 6. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's quite  interesting how spoken word can be more difficult to record than singing.

As already referred to by some, it may be an unpleasant surprise to realize, how small  "artefacts" or mannerisms in speech can make the result irritating or distracting.
Details  that may sound good, or at least quite ok in singing can make spoken expression hard to listen. The smallest unnecessary sounds, grow "louder" by every repetition.  Very common is speech produced with mouth movements too "narrow", so that the result is sprinkled all over with tiny smacks and licks, which are impossible to edit out.

Which makes me think of the TV-series "Taken" from early 2000's, starring Dakota Fanning. The narrative parts  by Dakota were so unbelievably good I could never imagine a ten year old child can do something like that. I sometimes did rewinds just to enjoy the  perfection.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Kalle Rantaaho said:

I sometimes did rewinds just to enjoy the  perfection.

Great VO work is a joy to listen to, isn't it?

I don't know how old you are, but when I was a kid, Rod Serling, the great TV writer and producer of  Twilight Zone fame, had a second career in the late '60's and early '70's as the narrator for the US broadcasts of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, among other shows, and at least one silly fun speculative movie called Chariots of the Gods? that was based on the "ancient astronauts" theory. Undersea World was a documentary program featuring the great diver and environmentalist and his crew traveling around the world having diving adventures. The TV show was made in France and syndicated worldwide, with only the narration changing.

Serling had a wonderful deep voice and precise enunciation that gave a sense of gravitas to whatever was happening on screen, even if it was just some guy taking his fins off. "Louis-Claude removes his diving fins and places them in the bottom of the skiff." And it glued you to the (14" black and white) screen, because it sounded so heavy, like the fate of the world's oceans depended on this dude and his flippers getting back to the boat okay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

Great VO work is a joy to listen to, isn't it?

I don't know how old you are, but when I was a kid, Rod Serling, the great TV writer and producer of  Twilight Zone fame, had a second career in the late '60's and early '70's as the narrator for the US broadcasts of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, among other shows, and at least one silly fun speculative movie called Chariots of the Gods? that was based on the "ancient astronauts" theory. Undersea World was a documentary program featuring the great diver and environmentalist and his crew traveling around the world having diving adventures. The TV show was made in France and syndicated worldwide, with only the narration changing.

 

I'm closer to 70 than 60. I remember Serling and his voice well. Foreign series are here always with subtitles (except for documentaries), so I could enjoy his voice already in Twilight Zone opening /closing lines.  His voice matured and got better with age, due to better recordings as well, I  believe.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...